Sounder at Heart Archives for January 2012

Sounders Sign Duran, Sodade

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Seattle's two SuperDraft picks signed with the team today. Andrew Duran and Babayele Sodade can now officially call themselves members of Seattle Sounders FC. Picked in the first round Duran offers depth across the backline. Sigi Schmid describes his play in the press release.

"Andrew was our first round pick and we feel he is a very solid defender," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid.

Defining Moments In American Soccer

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On Leap Year Day 2012 the United States won a game against Italy for the first time, on its 11th try. But it was just a friendly. It is not a win that people will remember for ages. For all the glory of Landon Donovan's goal in the 2010 World Cup, it has not defined US soccer. There are a few defining moments.

Seattle Sounders Vs. Jaguares De Chiapas: Highlights, Statistics, Quotes

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As preseason finales go, Wednesday's went about as well as you could have hoped for the Seattle Sounders. Their 2-0 win over a Juguares de Chiapas team that had won 2 of their past 3 matches in the Mexican Primera was a clear indication that this team is about as ready as it could be to face Santos Laguna.

Santos' Quintero injured, may miss CCL quarters

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Santos' Quintero injured, may miss CCL quarters

The Seattle Sounders probably needed to catch some sort of break to beat Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. It appears they've already received one. Carlos Darwin Quintero, one of the team's starting forwards, suffered a torn thigh muscle and will probably miss the entire quarterfinal.

Seattle Sounders 2 - Jaguares de Chiapas 0 : Quick Recap

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The match was supposed to be a tune up for the CONCACAF Champions League match against Santos Laguna, and if the Tuesday night Community Shield is any indication Seattle Sounders FC are as ready as they could be. Fredy Montero's brace highlighted an evening that saw a visiting Mexican team play a fairly strong side.

Seattle Sounders v Jaguares de Chiapas - Community Shield Friendly Gamethread

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Tonight's Community Shield game isn't about beating Jaguares de Chiapas (3-5-0 in Clausura 2012, 12th in league). Instead it's sole purpose is preparing to beat Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League. It also has the advantage of being free for the thousands that will welcome Seattle Sounders FC back home to open their packed 2012.

Roster Utilization Questions For 2012

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Tonight's game against Jaguares essentially marks the end of the Sounders' 2012 preseason. The team's roster for the start of the season is basically set. Yesterday Sigi stated that tonight's game will be about focusing on preparing for next week's match against Santos Laguna. Time to stop focusing on which players the Sounders will choose and start looking at how the pieces they have fit together.

United States v Italy - Friendly Gamethread

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If you think of Italy as the overrated team that failed in the last World Cup you would be out of date. Sure, Italy is not as grand as it once was. But currently residing in a range with France, Russia, Bosnia and the Czech Republic, Italy is actually a team with offense. In their last 10 they have 7 wins, 2 losses and a draw with a +10 goal difference.

Chelsea Reportedly Paying Seattle A Visit This Summer, Likely To Play Sounders

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It looks like Chelsea will be paying Seattle a visit this summer. The official U.S.-based Chelsea supporters group sent out a tweet announcing the plans and Sounder at Heart has independently confirmed the report, but was unable to confirm that the game will be against the Seattle Sounders.

CIA are please to confirm that Chelsea will be coming to the US this summer, playing in Seattle, DC and New York.

Time To Face Facts, CenturyLink May Never Have Permanent Grass

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There seems to be little debate: A perfect grass pitch is almost always preferable to an artificial one. There are plenty of studies that suggest that's ridiculous and some of the newer surfaces may actually be superior to grass, but the perception is there. Here's the thing, though: As long as the Seattle Sounders play at CenturyLink Field, we should expect them to play on some sort of artificial turf.

David Estrada Is Sounders' Hardest Working, Most Fit Player

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David Estrada Is Sounders' Hardest Working, Most Fit Player

The more you read about David Estrada the more you like him. This Seattle Times story does a good job of illustrating how he's moved himself to the brink of a starting role.

Sounders Women Schedule And Tickets Announced

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After signing three huge names in the past few weeks, the Sounders Women announced their season ticket package. The package includes three friendlies and seven league games. Due to national team demands the US Women's National team players "will be available for 6-7 of the 10 home matches between April and July.

Big Week For US National Teams

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The international and domestic soccer calendars kick off in earnest this week. The local focus is on the Community Shield match this Wednesday between the Sounders and Jaguares (it's free! bring your friends) as a tune-up to next week's CCL opener against Santos Laguna. But the various US national teams are also in action.

With the addition of some new players to the Sounders Women's team, the UW women's soccer team has...

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With the addition of some new players to the Sounders Women's team, the UW women's soccer team has announced a schedule change for the spring season and will now play the Sounders on May 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila, Wash.

Huskies To Play Solo, Sounders - University of Washington Official Athletic Site

That's one of the three friendlies that feature Solo, Morgan and Leroux.

Sounders Vs. Santos Laguna: About 16,500 Tickets Sold

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While well short of embarrassing, it's looking more and more like the crowd for the March 7 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal -- easily one of the five most important matches the Sounders have played at home -- will be a bit underwhelming in size. As of Tuesday morning, the Seattle Sounders have sold about 16,500 tickets for their match against Santos Laguna, according to team officials (they also said about 32,000 season tickets have been sold).

Nos Audietis, Episode 41: The David Estrada-Era Begins

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OK, maybe calling this the David Estrada -era is a bit strong, but it's sure looking like the former first-round pick is going to be getting a lot more playing time this year. To celebrate his ascendency, we convinced Estrada to be our guest on the show this week. We also preview the upcoming game against Jaguares, as well as take a look ahead to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Santos Laguna.

Dynamo Fans Face Away-Travel Restrictions

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Dynamo Fans Face Away-Travel Restrictions

As you may have heard, Dynamo supporters have been banned from bringing banners, drums and flags to at least eight away matches. The ban does not apply for home games as best as we can tell. The letter detailing the punishment highlights three incidents, the most egregious of which was fans throwing smoke bombs and other items onto the field during MLS Cup.

Day One On New CenturyLink FieldTurf

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Today's first practice at CenturyLink Field on the latest installation of FieldTurf saw Seattle Sounders FC focused on primarily on short passes and dribbling to learn how it plays. While the in-fill still sits rather high, there will be some noticeable rooster tails. This is the latest and greatest of the technologies from FieldTurf and the vibe around the team was generally positive.

Alex Morgan Officially Signs With Sounders Women

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It is rumor no more: Alex Morgan has officially signed with the Sounders Women. Like Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux before her, Morgan comes to the Sounders with a significant national team resume and ties to the region. Morgan, 22, has already scored 16 goals in 32 United States women's national team appearances.

Eddie Johnson Ruled Out For Jaguares, Status Unknown For Santos Laguna

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Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid ruled out Eddie Johnson for Wednesday's Community Shield match against Jaguares. Johnson has been nursing a hamstring injury ever since he came out early from his preseason debut on Feb. 22. On Monday, he did not fully participate in practice and trained off to the side.

Major Link Soccer: Mike Fucito Nets First Goal For Impact, Klinsmann calls up Shea & Kljestan for Italy Friendly

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I am so ready for the season to start it's not even funny.

Due to injuries and illness to three members of the USMNT, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called up Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan to replace Timmy Chandler (Hamstring), Jose Fransico Torres (Hamstring) and Landon Donovan (Bronchitis). Dovovan missed his last match of his loan stint with Everton and has been back in the states for a week and has yet to train with the LA Galaxy.

Just in case you needed another reminder of some of the people who have left this offseason....

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Just in case you needed another reminder of some of the people who have left this offseason. Apparently, friend of the site Arlo White caught up with former Seattle Sounders Miguel Montano, Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito. (Photo via @arlowhite)

The new FieldTurf has been installed at CenturyLink Field and, while it may not be the grass many...

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The new FieldTurf has been installed at CenturyLink Field and, while it may not be the grass many are hoping for, it does look pretty awesome (via @FieldTurf). Let's hope this stuff holds up better than the old version.

Sounders Partial Season Ticket Packages On Sale

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With a website with depth like SoundersFC.com sometimes changes can get lost. One of those changes (timing unknown) is that Seattle Sounders FC is now selling two separate 9-game partial season ticket packages. For those that want cheaper options to see a large amount of regular season matches rather than CONCACAF Champions League (still on sale as well) the partial packages offer a price point starting at $22 per match.

No Seattle move for Azam's Mrisho Ngassa

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No Seattle move for Azam's Mrisho Ngassa

Not a surprise to those following the team through pre-season, but it is now official that Mrisho Ngassa will not be joining Seattle Sounders FC in the winter window. There are other indications that he will remain a player they like and willl continue to track his (and other Tanzanian players) this Spring.

David Estrada May Be Big Winner In 'The Trade'

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Ever since the Seattle Sounders opted to select David Estrada with their first-round pick of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, the move has been questioned. Estrada was a solid performer during his four seasons at UCLA, but his counting stats seemed to fall off each year after his standout freshman season.

Alex Morgan Rumored To Be Seattle Sounders Women's Next Big Signing

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Alex Morgan is rumored to be the next big-name signing by the Seattle Sounders Women, sources close to the situation have indicated to Sounder at Heart. Her signing could be announced next week.

Morgan was arguably the breakout star of the most recent Women's World Cup, scoring goals in both the semifinal and final for the United States women's national team.

Major Link Soccer: AEG Buying Spurs? Richmond Kickers Make Academy Free, Robbie Rogers Debuts For Leeds United

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Don't forget we're about two weeks out from Sounder At Hearts official Scarf Release party, and the away leg vs Santos Laguna! For all the details just click here.

Former Columbus Crew winger Robbie Rogers had his debut with Leeds United -- though I don't think it went exactly as he would have planned it out.

"In the long run, this is better for my career," Neagle told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday from the...

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"In the long run, this is better for my career," Neagle told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday from the Impact's team hotel. "The more minutes I get on the field, the better I'm going to be and the more money I can eventually make."

Former Sounder Lamar Neagle talks to MLSoccer.

Mayers says Sounders can buy out OBW's contract

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Mayers says Sounders can buy out OBW's contract

Eric Wynalda On Honesty In Sports Media

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Inspired by the recent story at The Sporting News regarding Eric Wynalda, his engagements over Twitter and some small parallels between Kasey Keller and Wynalda as vocal players, Sounder at Heart conducted a 30-odd-minute conversation with the US Player of the Decade for the 1990s. It quickly became apparent that the topics would be far reaching, circling back and then shooting off in another direction.

Darwin Jones, DeAndre Yedlin, Troy Peterson Sign With Sounders U23

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Darwin Jones, DeAndre Yedlin, Troy Peterson Sign With Sounders U23

We're fully expecting a lot more announcements like this one in the near future, but right now it looks like Sounders Academy products Darwin Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and Troy Peterson are among the first players to sign up with the Sounders U23 team which will begin play this summer and is holding tryouts on March 10-11.

Mike Fucito: Statement To The Fans

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Mike Fucito reached out today and asked if he could share some words to the greater Seattle Sounders community and of course to the readers at Sounder at Heart. We were more than happy to help him do that. The following statement was sent via email and is from he to each and every person who calls themselves a Sounder.

Celtic asking local fans to support Santos Laguna in the upcoming CONCACAF match

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Celtic asking local fans to support Santos Laguna in the upcoming CONCACAF match

Hidden Layer: Fullbacks, Defensive Midfielders And Pro-Active Defense

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Last year in a 2-part "tactical preview" I suggested that the true shape of a "back four" team is actually a "W", taking into consideration the prevalence of the deep-lying central defensive midfielder, who in many applications has become almost a 3rd center back and revised the famous "libero" role of the past.

We're now two weeks away from the unofficial start of the season when the Seattle Sounders play...

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We're now two weeks away from the unofficial start of the season when the Seattle Sounders play Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champions League. We're also three weeks away from our away viewing party. Have you RSVP'd? Checked out the updates? Do it all here. Also, thanks to S@H reader SumAnon for designing this poster, as well as our scarves (which are still available for purchase) and new logo.

Sounders Beat Reduced Atlante Side In Preseason Closed Game

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In Seattle Sounders FC final road preseason game they overcame last minute stadium and opposition lineup adjustments to beat Atlante five to two. As the Rave Green return to Seattle their co-leading preseason scorers are Fredy Montero (two goals today, three on preseason) and David Estrada (one goal and assist today, three goals on preseason).

Betting On Yourself

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What a difference a week makes. A week ago I wrote about the young heart of the Sounders and this week, two of those players are now Impactioneers. (Hey, it sounds better than Impacters.) Much has been said in the aftermath of The Trade. But one comment in particular struck a chord for me.

NBC Gets Goosebumps Tingling With Latest MLS Promo

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The fact that this promo appears to feature the Timbers Army signing the National Anthem aside, the latest promo from NBC Sports Network should be enough to get us all pumped. And for those of you who like counting these things, there are at least two appearances of Sounders.

"I honestly believe Darwin Jones is the best attacking player coming into college soccer next...

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"I honestly believe Darwin Jones is the best attacking player coming into college soccer next year," said Clark about the Seattle Sounders Academy product. "He has pace and strength to go along with unbelievable technique. In the Sounders preseason camp, he was the fastest guy on the team.

Turnover, Time Creates New Veteran Leaders

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Back before the first ever Seattle Sounders FC match in 2009, it was fairly clear who the veteran leaders would be -- Kasey Keller, Nate Jaqua, Tyrone Marshall and Peter Vagenas. Each had long careers and, except for Keller, those careers were primarily in MLS. Just three seasons later, none of those players are on the roster.

Sounders Believe Eddie Johnson Can Revive His Career -- Seattle Times

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Sounders Believe Eddie Johnson Can Revive His Career -- Seattle Times

I know it seems like Sounder at Heart is all gloom-and-doom about this trade, but we're not so crazy to think there isn't an upside. Here's a good look from Joshua Mayers.

Fitness Concerns Over Sammy Ochoa, O'Brian White Motivated Sounders To Make Trade

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With each passing day, it seems we learn a little more about the Eddie Johnson trade. On Monday, Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid seemed to indicate that health and fitness concerns with Sammy Ochoa and O'Brian White were motivating factors behind the deal.

"I think certainly if O'Brian White wasn't injured and hadn't gone through what he went through last year, maybe we're not talking about this trade," Schmid said during a teleconference.

Sounders Reserve Schedule Released

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The Seattle Sounders Reserves will open their 2012 schedule with a pair of mini-derby games against the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. Their first game will be at the University of British Colombia on March 26, which would be the day before a potential CONCACAF Champions League semifinal match.

These relatively public situations underscore the problems with the Allocation Ranking, and there...

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These relatively public situations underscore the problems with the Allocation Ranking, and there are plenty of other examples of U.S. players choosing to play elsewhere rather than face the uncertainty. It's high time for MLS to rethink the entire system

It's High Time That MLS Scrap The Allocation Ranking - SBNation.

Major Link Soccer: Robbie Keane Might Return To England, Gary Smith Talks Stan Kroenke, Castrol Re-Ups

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So has it sunk in yet? You've had a weekend to ponder "The Trade," have you gone through the stages? I'm still not sure what to think, though in my internet wanderings there seems to be a small set of fans that think that the good or bad of this trade hinges on our CCL affair -- which I find highly irrational.

Nos Audietis Episode 40: Talking Eddie Johnson Trade With Adrian Hanauer

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As you may have heard, there was a rather big trade on Friday. Fan favorites and, more importantly, friends of the show Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle were dealt to the Montreal Impact in exchange for Eddie Johnson. We spend a lot of time going over that one with Aaron, Dave and myself all have significantly different opinions of it (disagreement is great for radio!

Eddie Johnson Flashes Upside In Sounders Debut, But Leaves Early

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In just his first preseason match on Sunday, Eddie Johnson showed why the Seattle Sounders were willing to make an aggressive move to acquire him and why that move carries some risk. The 27-year-old forward scored one goal, apparently on a left-footed shot from distance, and helped contribute to two others during the Sounders' 5-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast University.

Sounders v Florida Gulf Coast Univeristy Team Live Blog

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Sounders v Florida Gulf Coast Univeristy Team Live Blog

Again the link above is the team's official live blog of today's game. It is the only coverage of the 3 periods of 30 minutes you'll find. Gaschk says that Eddie Johnson is supposed to play, but it will primarily be Reserves today.

Tough Good-Byes For Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle

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Tough Good-Byes For Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle

Matt Gaschk was able to catch up with Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito before they left the team. Both had very nice things to say about their time in Seattle.

Depth Chart: 3 XIs - Don't Let Me Down

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Halfway through their preseason the Seattle Sounders shook up the old depth charts quite a bit. It isn't just about the trade for Eddie Johnson (after which Sigi basically confirmed a return to big/small forward pairing), but there are talents better than expected who are rocketing up in our perception.

Video from Eddie Johnson's first day at training. A few key takeaways that seem to be constantly...

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Video from Eddie Johnson's first day at training. A few key takeaways that seem to be constantly overlooked: Ezra Hendrickson (assistant coach) played with EJ with FC Dallas and Chris Henderson (technical director) and David Tenney (fitness coach) both coached EJ in Kansas City. Eddie was far from unknown to this coaching staff.

Church of Fucito, welcome to the Church of Fake Sigi - Fake Sigi Soccer

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Church of Fucito, welcome to the Church of Fake Sigi - Fake Sigi Soccer

He gets to troll the Church one last time. He does so in fine fashion, mocking the crap out of me again. Thanks for creating a meme FS, you're the accidental father of some of the greatest moments in Sounder fandom.

There's minor swearing at the link.

The American Exodus

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One of the factors in yesterday's trade that got little notice was that the Seattle Sounders shipped out two more American players in Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle. Of course they got an American in return in Eddie Johnson, but, in addition to that transaction, the list of Americans the Sounders have lost this offseason is substantial.

Eddie Johnson: Gamble Towards Specific Style Of Play

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Eddie Johnson's career displays some significant red flags. He was last an effective goal scorer with his club in 2007, albeit in Kansas City. It was a dominant season. His 15 goals and 6 assists in 24 MLS matches (all starts) resulted in a 1.50 PP90. That season became his ticket to Europe. But in Europe he struggled to find a place where he fit.

Reasonable Minds Can Disagree: Sounder At Heart Crew's Differing Views Of Eddie Johnson Trade

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Even before the news officially hit, emotions were running high in the world of the Seattle Sounders. Shortly after the Montreal Impact used their top spot in the Allocation Order to pick Eddie Johnson, they announced he had been traded. It only took a few minutes for rumor to spread that it was to the Sounders.

Chiesa Di Totti - SB Nation Blog For AS Roma Fans

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Chiesa Di Totti - SB Nation Blog For AS Roma Fans

Yes, www.sbnation.com/soccer continues to grow. This time adding the first of a couple of planned Serie A blogs.

Sounders Personnel React To Friday's Trade On Twitter

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Judging from the tone of Seattle Sounders personnel on Twitter following Friday's trade that sent Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact in exchange for Eddie Johnson, the move came as a surprise. Shock is a fair way to sum it up. But rather than waste my time explaining it, here's a sampling of some of the reactions.

Seattle Sounders Trade Mike Fucito, Lamar Neagle For Eddie Johnson

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Fans that have been pining for the Seattle Sounders to make a big move this offseason got their wish on Friday as the team traded Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito to the Montreal Impact in exchange for former United States international Eddie Johnson. The move comes as a rather massive shock as both Fucito and Neagle were thought to be in the team's longterm plans.

Perhaps the biggest news in the world of the Seattle Sounders this week was the women's team...

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Perhaps the biggest news in the world of the Seattle Sounders this week was the women's team signing Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux. There haven't been a whole lot of official comments out of the Sounders so far, but GM Amy Carnell did have a rather long interview with Jeff Kassouf of This Week In Women's Soccer.

This is the second of a two-part series examining the current state of the MLS Reserve League and...

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This is the second of a two-part series examining the current state of the MLS Reserve League and the need for improvement in the next 10 years. The series looks at the league as it stands today, the improvements that must be made to help MLS nurture talent from within the borders of the U.

Sounders Transfer Rumor: Michael Ballack Not Being Pursued

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Not to be too much of a wet blanket, but rumors that the Seattle Sounders are pursuing Michael Ballack appear to have no basis in reality. At least, that's the plainly obvious way to read comments Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer made to Sounder at Heart.

"Although Michael Ballack is a player that we have admired for many years, he is not a player that we are currently pursuing," Hanauer said in an email.

These are taking up a lot of room in my car and house. It's probably a good thing that we'll be...

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These are taking up a lot of room in my car and house. It's probably a good thing that we'll be shipping them and getting them to you at the #BeatSantos party soon.

You Will Hear Us

Major Link Soccer: Chivas USA Joins The Mile High Club, USMNT Snub's The Northwest Again

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With a new season, brings new kits. It's just the way it is -- but what sets you apart is how you unveil those kits. Take Chivas USA for example, they did their's at 30,000 feet in the air some where between Guadalajara and Los Angles during a Volaris commercial flight.

Modeling these new kits in flight were Juan Pablo Angel, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and midfielder Jorge Villafana.

"It's going to be fun," said the 29-year-old, who played for three MLS teams from 2002 to '09. "I...

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"It's going to be fun," said the 29-year-old, who played for three MLS teams from 2002 to '09. "I got loaned out to the Sounders when I was 20 years old [in 2003]. I love that city, and I think they've done wonders. And if you're asking me if I'm excited to play against a coach who once told me I should try to pick a different profession .

Evan though Mondelo talks about partnering with a lower division league, he is still careful in...

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Evan though Mondelo talks about partnering with a lower division league, he is still careful in stating if or when it will happen, pointing out stability of those leagues as a major stumbling block. "Ideally, could there be an affiliation with the NASL? Maybe?" Mondelo said. "Maybe that is a way of increasing the number of teams that are participating in the reserve league and making the competition more meaningful.

Sounders v US U17s with Sounder Youth Keeper - End of Half 3-nil Seattle

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Sounders v US U17s with Sounder Youth Keeper - End of Half 3-nil Seattle

Forward pairing was Estrada and Ochoa (both with goals so far) and Amadou Sanyang makes an appearance at Right Back. Paul Christensen is the U17 keeper, he's also a Sounder.

Seattle's "Other" Forward

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Since the loss of Blaise Nkufo, the Seattle Sounders are unsettled in their choice for the primary forward partner with Fredy Montero. By the end of 2011, the choice was a tactical decision between speed and size in Mike Fucito and Sammy Ochoa respectively. With O'Brian White's status still unknown, the search for Montero's partner is continuing and expanding.

Fucito may have a slight headstart with the beginnings of a cult following in Seattle. But he's no...

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Fucito may have a slight headstart with the beginnings of a cult following in Seattle. But he's no regular just yet and he has the chance to make the forward spot permanent if he can stay injury-free this year.
And if the goals can follow, #LinSanity may have to make way for a dusting-off of #LikeMike

Who's most likely to be the MLS Jeremy Lin?

Inside The Sounders' Studio: Brad Evans Interviews Cordell Cato

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Obviously recognizing what a huge hit the first installment was, Brad Evans was at it again on Twitter. This time he interviewed new Seattle Sounders teammate Cordell Cato. Among other things, we learned that Cato is a boxer-briefs man, that baked chicken is his favorite dish, that he's a little afraid of Zach Scott and he even suggests that he may soon by joining Twitter.

Preparations To Face Santos Laguna Start Early

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With four weeks until the deciding match in the two leg aggregate series against Santos Laguna, the Seattle Sounders have a dual focus in preseason -- winning that CONCACAF Champions League round and preparing for a full year of matches. During yesterday's interview on KJR with Gasman and Elise, Coach Sigi Schmid noted the importance of the CCL match against Santos.

Sounder Investments

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Early in the classic baseball movie, Bull Durham, there is a scene where the veteran catcher, Crash Davis, ends up out back of a bar with the pitching protégé he's supposed to be helping to develop. Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke' LaLoosh wants to fight, but Crash hands Ebby a baseball instead and goads him into throwing the ball at Crash's chest.

Sounders v Crew Preseason Live Blog

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Sounders v Crew Preseason Live Blog

Like a vast majority of preseason matches this game is only being lived blog at the official team site. This is the first of the Wed, Wed, Wed, series of matches for the first team.

Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux Join Sounders Women

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There couldn't be a stronger signal that the state of women's soccer in America is in flux than to have Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux join the Seattle Sounders Women. With WPS faltering, WPSL forming a limited elite division and adding a team in Issaquah, it was already clear that there would be some change.

Development Academy Changes Highlight Structural Challenges Of USA

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Last week the USSF announced changes to the structure of the developmental academy system. The two primary changes were a shift to a nationwide 10-month season (USSoccer.com) and a top-down forced choice between high school soccer and the Academies (TopDrawerSoccer.com). These changes are part of the national federation's continued quest for improvement and are extensions from the establishment of the Academy system and growing MLS HomeGrown Player rules (both SBNation.

In honor of this Hallmark holiday -- which my wife and I proudly do not celebrate -- we wanted to...

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In honor of this Hallmark holiday -- which my wife and I proudly do not celebrate -- we wanted to share these Sounders-inspired Valentine's Day cards. Our man LikkitP created them. Check out the rest here. Also of note, all photos are courtesy of SoundersFC.com.

Nate Jaqua Is Contemplating Retirement - The Bent Musket

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Nate Jaqua Is Contemplating Retirement - The Bent Musket

Sorry about another front paged FanShot, but it seems former Sounder Nate Jaqua is nearing retirement. More fresh SaH content soon.

Perhaps I'm glad Nguyen didn't end up with Seattle.

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Perhaps I'm glad Nguyen didn't end up with Seattle.

It appears someone missed the memo.

EDIT: Now in comments.

Defenders Might Be the Most Important Players in Soccer

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Defenders Might Be the Most Important Players in Soccer

Soccer By The Numbers has an article that's ostensibly about player salary efficiency in MLS, but for me the money info is in the three included charts that correlate team performance to the Castrol Index scores. The summary is that there's almost no correlation with forwards, pretty good correlation with midfielders, and almost a straight line with defenders, meaning that the quality of your defenders will determine the quality of your team more than anything else.

Sounders Training Game V Orlando City SC Official Liveblog

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Sounders Training Game V Orlando City SC Official Liveblog

This match is not streamed and only available via textual liveblog on the team's site (linked above). It starts at 1 PM will consist of 3 30 minute periods and should be mainly the 2nd and 3rd team based on Sigi's comments prior to heading to Florida.

Sammy Ochoa Motivated To Succeed Against Mexican Sides

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Over a one month stretch, Sammy Ochoa and Seattle Sounders FC will face three teams from Mexico. Two of those matches are merely preseason tuneups for the more significant two-leg CONCACAF Champions League matchup against Santos Laguna. For Ochoa, in his first preseason with Seattle, he has a little extra motivation to succeed against teams in a league where regular playing time and success were limited.

In terms of the technical quality of games, the data taken from the Russian Premier League again...

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In terms of the technical quality of games, the data taken from the Russian Premier League again shows few disparities between performances on the different surfaces. Critics of artificial turf often hold that players are not comfortable in possession on artificial pitches, yet the average number of touches per player remained steady (2.

MLS And Youth Development, Part 2: Teams Seek More Bang For Buck

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MLS And Youth Development, Part 2: Teams Seek More Bang For Buck

If you enjoyed Part 1 of my examination of MLS and youth development, you should enjoy Part 2 even more. There's a lot more Seattle Sounders talk in this one, although Adrian Hanauer may not be saying the things everyone wants hear.

Major Link Soccer: Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz Pens Open Letter, USWNT's Alex Morgan in Sports Illustrated

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In this edition of Major Link Soccer, I Timm Higgins will try my best not to poke bears, cause twitter outrage or other such nonsense. Lets all cross our fingers shall we?

The Philadelphia Union have been under fire from their fan base most of this off season. Recently on their official website CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz pens a open letter of sorts to the Unions fans.

Nos Audietis Episode 39: Roster Talk, Preseason Scheduling And More

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Like most of the Seattle Sounders web community this week's major topic is the First XI, the gameday 18 and who will make the roster 30. This week's guest was probably the most difficult booking ever for Jeremiah and Aaron as they had to convince Dave to join them in the new yet-to-be-named studio.

Olympic Roster Mock | MLSsoccer.com

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Olympic Roster Mock | MLSsoccer.com

There are 13 players of age that make both lists. Eight of those are from MLS. D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union look to get hit hardest.

While neither pundit picked Zac MacMath, he's probably in the converstion. The of age players that both list?

State Of The Sounders' Roster: T-Minus 4 Weeks, 36 Players Still In Camp

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The Seattle Sounders' preseason roster got just a little bit lighter as they got ready to take off for Florida and Mexico. Although the Sounders didn't officially release an updated roster, Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has managed to piece one together:

Goalkeepers (5): Chris Blais*, Josh Ford, Michael Gspurning, Bryan Meredith, Andrew Weber*

Defenders (10): Marc Burch, Andrew Duran#, Leo Gonzalez, Harlinton Gutierres*, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Michael Tetteh

Midfielders (13): Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alex Caskey*, Cordell Cato, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Lamar Neagle, Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose^, Amadou Sanyang, Michael Seamon, Christian Sivebaek, Steve Zakuani

Forwards (7): David Estrada, Mike Fucito, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Sammy Ochoa, Babayele Soldade#, O'Brian White

* -- trialist/invitee, # -- unsigned draft pick, ^ -- acquired on draft day trade, underline -- recovering from injury with uncertain timeline

Still not a whole lot of surprises at this point.

Practice Report: Drills, Small Sided and Wide Field Games

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Roster flux continues though all under contract players are still with the team, some of the Supplemental Draft picks and trialists are now in a different phase of their soccer journeys. Joshua Mayers, of the Seattle Times, compiled the list of missing names. Harlinton Guiterres, Real Espana reservist, is still in camp.

Examining the state of MLS's youth development, Part 1

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Examining the state of MLS's youth development, Part 1

Heading into Year 4 of Major League Soccer's Homegrown Player Initiative, we are starting to see real signs of progress. Here's part 1 of my look at the state of youth development in MLS.

Major Link Soccer: Klinsmann Not Optimistic About Olympics, Wynalda Continues Speaking His Mind

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Jurgen Klinsmann has been a polarizing figure since being named head coach of the USMNT, for me the jury is still out. Soon the US U23's will begin the qualifying rounds to earn their ticket London and the 2012 summer games. The problem I have at the moment (and this just might be my brain) is that Klinsmann isn't being too positive about the whole thing.

Remember that video we posted about a week ago featuring a remix of the M83 song "Midnight City"...

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Remember that video we posted about a week ago featuring a remix of the M83 song "Midnight City" and all kinds of fancy editing by Jimmy Diebold and Bodega Studios? Well, someone went ahead and added all the Sounders footage we were all dying for.

Seattle to have 1st tier Women's team in 2013

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Seattle to have 1st tier Women's team in 2013

In the demise of WPS, the WPSL (2nd tier, alongside the W-League in which the Sounders Women play) is forming an Elite Soccer League in 2012 for some former WPS teams to continue playing.

This story reports of Seattle committing to a team for 2013 alongside San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Controversy Surrounds MLS' Home Grown Rule | College Soccer Recruiting News

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Controversy Surrounds MLS' Home Grown Rule | College Soccer Recruiting News

This is part two of a two part series with Real Salt Lake's GM and an agent that has negotiated an HGP deal. More light is getting shined on this rapidly developing portion of the American soccer system every couple of weeks.

Sounders Have Sold About 14,000 Tickets For CONCACAF Champions League Vs. Santos Laguna

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Looks like we have some catching up to do. The Seattle Sounders have sold about 14,000 tickets for the March 7 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Santos Laguna. With a month left before the game, that's a perfectly respectable total, but it's also about 25,000 fewer than Toronto FC has sold for their quarterfinal against the LA Galaxy the same day.

Statistical Approach to Formations

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As our own malcontentjake and countless others have demonstrated repeatedly, the numerical shorthand for soccer formations which we're all accustomed to (e.g. 4-4-2) is almost completely useless. Whether you have a 'band of 4' defenders or a 'band of 5' is much less important than what those defenders are doing at any given time.

Hunt For Multiple Trophy Season From Underdog Role For Sounders

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From Joe Roth to Adrian Hanauer to Sigi Schmid to players like Mike Fucito Seattle Sounders FC has been quite clear about their goals for this year. Another US Open Cup title will not be enough. It is a consistent organizational chorus that started at the End of Year Business Meeting and is hinted at in most conversations about the upcoming season.

Sounders Face Jaguares de Chiapas In February 29th Community Shield

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Continuing their preseason tradition of a Community Shield match to raise funds for charity partners, the Seattle Sounders today announced that their opponent in the Feb. 29 7 PM match will be Jaguares de Chiapas of the Mexican Primera. In a new twist, the match will be free and seating on a first-come, first-serve basis, but the club will be accepting donations at the door.

Voodoo Economics: A Look at how the LA Galaxy Manage the Salary Cap

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I woke up this morning to Josh Mayers of the Seattle Times reporting that the LA Galaxy had managed to secure Leonardo on a free transfer and they got Juninho back on a free loan.Suffice it to say that my initial response was not fit to print.

The top of the LA Galaxy roster boggles the mind.

Intensitivity Training

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Editor's note: Promoted to the front for general, goose-bumpy awesomeness. - Jeremiah

There he stands, in the pre-dawn silence of Occidental Park, as still as any of the statues. A slight drizzle falls around him, but his hoodie remains dry.

The rain stops as color creeps into the sky.

Sounders Reportedly Moving Game Against RSL To Make Room For Friendly

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It would appear the Seattle Sounders may be getting close to announcing details of their summer friendly. A league source has confirmed to Sounder at Heart what Michael C. Lewis originally tweeted that the Sounders' home game against Real Salt Lake will be moved from July 18 to Oct. 17 in order to accomodate an international friendly.

Video of yesterday's preseason match versus the Vancouver Whitecaps. Obviously a preseason game,...

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Video of yesterday's preseason match versus the Vancouver Whitecaps. Obviously a preseason game, with some pretty scrappy play, but it's good to see the boys running around again.

Sounders Preseason Schedule

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Now with a stunning 1-1 draw in the books against the Vancouver Whitecaps the Seattle Sounders announced five preseason scrimmages in their "Florida" phase of training. Florida in quotes because the key note match will be against Atlante FC behind closed doors in Cancun, Mexico on February 22nd at 4PM Pacific.

First Preseason Game Starts To Settle Lineup Questions

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Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders FC took the pitch in anger for the first time. While it may only be preseason anger, the number of cards (10 yellow, 1 red) and the puncture wound on Mike Fucito indicate that emotions were high and form was off. While the game ended with both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Sounders netting just one goal apiece, the point of these matches is not to win, but to prepare to win meaningful games.

Sounders v. Whitecaps Preseason Liveblog

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Sounders v. Whitecaps Preseason Liveblog

Game will be three periods, with two 45 minute "halves" and a 30 minute additional period.

Reportedly Zak will be making an appearance, though he is not starting. Follow along with Matt Gaschk through the link. This is not really a gamethread, though feel free to discuss here.

Darwin Jones Chooses UW, Five Sounders Academy Players Now Huskies

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Darwin Jones was among the Seattle Sounders' recent cuts from preseason training camp, but that doesn't mean he'll be going very far. The 19-year-old has joined the University of Washington's 2012 recruiting class, giving the Huskies four Sounders Academy products in this class alone. Jones will be accompanied by Michael Gallagher, Ian Lange and Dominique Dismuke.

We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but Saturday seemed like a positive one in Steve...

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We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but Saturday seemed like a positive one in Steve Zakuani's journey back from his leg injury.

Here's what the official practice report had to say about his performance: "Perhaps the best highlight came in the final minute as Steve Zakuani, who played the full 40 minutes, flew down the left side with blazing speed.

Sounders FC practice report, A.M. session Feb. 4

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Sounders FC practice report, A.M. session Feb. 4

Former Seattle Times reporter Jose Romero now lives in Arizona (he writes for SBN Arizona event). On his personal blog he writes about today's practice.

MLS Taking On Distinctive Foreign Flavor - MLSSoccer.com

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MLS Taking On Distinctive Foreign Flavor - MLSSoccer.com

As you've surely noticed, the Seattle Sounders aren't the only MLS team that is not particularly American. Matthew Doyle of MLSSoccer.com looks at the trend, and points out that it's nothing to be afraid of.

This is the problem with using econometric analysis to identify causes within complex systems. Yes,...

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This is the problem with using econometric analysis to identify causes within complex systems. Yes, Kuper and Syzmanski are able to identify a few 10,000 foot correlations that are fairly intuitive to begin with. But when the real work to identify the actual causes of something begins, the equations and models are revealed to be cartoon depictions of reality bolstered by some smart sounding phrases but demonstrating a frightening lack of subject knowledge depth.

Major Link Soccer: Bob Bradley Marches In Protest, Red Bulls Still Think They're Tax Exempt

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I hate to start these things on a down note, but today I feel I have too. As most know, Wednesday in Port Said Egypt a riot broke out at a Egyptian Premier League match. At the least 74 people lost their lives midweek and hundreds were injured after a match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly.

Former USMNT boss and current Egyptian National Team coach Bob Bradley watched the events unfold on TV as he was getting ready to attend another match that day.

Sounders U23 Coach Sawatzky "I like to win things"

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Asked directly what excites him most about his new opportunity to be the Coach of the Seattle Sounders U-23 side Darren Sawatzky gives two answers. The first isn't a surprise. As the Technical Director of the Sounders Academy his passing for player and personal develop is a strong fit in this new intermediary step between Academy and Pro.

MLS Roster Building is a Spectator Sport

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A few weeks ago while watching the MLS Player Combine I was struck by a strange realization; what happens in the Seattle Sounders FO is a spectator sport and that for me it is one of my favorite aspects of the game.

The internet broadcasts for the Combine were sponsored by a video game called Football Manager 2012 by Sega.

This is not Sounders related per se. It's actually not even really soccer related. But it is a...

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This is not Sounders related per se. It's actually not even really soccer related. But it is a pretty awesome video involving Century Link Field. Give it a watch.

Sounders Academy Players Commit To Colleges

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Last season, Seattle Sounders Academy players seemed scattered around the country, with only a handful local. This year, there are many more in the Greater Puget Sound, with three each committed to the University of Washington (Coach Jamie Clark), Seattle University (Coach Pete Fewing) and Western Washington (Coach Travis Connell).

Sounders Preseason In Fast-Forward: Identifying Starters Early Is Priority

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A year ago, the Seattle Sounders opened their season on March 15. This year, they will essentially do so eight days earlier. On paper that might not seem like a huge difference.

But unlike last year when they opened against a LA Galaxy team that was in the same stage of its season, the Sounders' first opponent will be Santos Laguna, a Mexican Primera side that will have already played nine matches.

Seattle's Steve Zakuani on the road to recovery - Grant Wahl

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Seattle's Steve Zakuani on the road to recovery - Grant Wahl

We know all about Steve Zakuani's horrific injury. There's not necessarily a lot new here for us. But there are some interesting details and Wahl does talk to Brian Mullan, who acknowledges his poor choice of words the day of the incident.

Details of Sounders-Santos Laguna Away Viewing Party

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Sounder at Heart is co-hosting (along with Golazo) an away viewing party for the second leg of the Sounders-Santos Laguna CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on March 14 from 4 p.m.-9:30ish. The event will double as our scarf distribution event. We of course appreciate those of you who have bought and will buy scarves, but buying a scarf is not a mandatory part of attending.

Pondering The Possibilities Of Further Sounders Roster Shakeup

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The past few days have altered the landscape of MLS, the Western Conference and, specifically, Cascadia. While many of us have always believed that the West was much stronger than the East, the amount of talent that has flooded in during the past week alone has only strengthened that belief.

Let's review: The Portland Timbers have added Kris Boyd, the leading scorer in Scottish Premier League history; the Vancouver Whitecaps traded for Sebastien Le Toux, who's contributed to 45 goals over the past two seasons; and the LA Galaxy brought back Edson Buddle, who scored 19 goals during the 2010 season.

The Weirdest MLS Transfer Rumor In A While

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The Weirdest MLS Transfer Rumor In A While

Not Sounder related. This comes totally out of left field, but the source is reliable enough (and the people involved crazy enough) that it's actually plausible. Here's my take, from a Villa-centric angle.